Rush University Medical Center has opened a center for airway diseases, a comprehensive program to treat people with interrelated chronic conditions such as sinusitis, allergies, asthma and sleep apnea, which affect millions of people. It is the first program of its kind in Illinois.
Conditions involving the airway can vary in severity and can cause a complex combination of symptoms — such as persistent sinus pain and pressure, breathing problems, sleep disturbances and coughing — that can severely affect quality of life.
“People with one or more of these conditions often find themselves visiting one medical specialist after another in the quest for the correct relief and treatment they need,” said Dr. Pete Batra, professor and chairperson of the Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery at Rush.
The Rush Center for Airway Diseases brings together specialists in the following areas:
- Laryngology (care for the larynx)
- Pulmonology (lung disease care)
- Rhinology (conditions of the nose)
- Sleep medicine and sleep surgery
Physicians from several specialties use their expertise collectively to diagnose and address all coexisting airway conditions using a comprehensive and coordinated approach at the center, and each patient is assessed to determine which specialists are needed. The patient’s personal care team plans and coordinates all treatments. The team partners with the patient’s existing primary care doctor, referring physician or outside specialists, as needed.
“Complex conditions require a team of experts who can apply their extensive training and knowledge to benefit each unique individual,” Batra said.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the prevalence of asthma among adults and children has increased over the last decade to approximately 26.5 million; the number of diagnosed respiratory allergies among children is 7.6 million; and the number of adults with diagnosed sinusitis is 26.9 million.
Caregivers at the Rush Center for Airway Diseases see patients at multiple locations, including Rush University Medical Center, Rush Oak Park Hospital and Rush South Loop, and also will provide care at the Rush Oak Brook location clinic opening in winter 2019.
“My vision was to bring together care for conditions that often coexist under the same umbrella and have physicians from different divisions coordinate the care of all these conditions in a multidisciplinary way,” said Batra.
“I hope this can be a model for how we manage these patients with upper airway diseases across the country.”
For more information, visit the Rush Center for Airway Diseases section on rush.edu.